Many people metaphorically see themselves on television, when they can identify with the characters and their plots. But few people actually see a picture of themselves on screen, except for Jim Carey in The Truman Show. But it happened to 29-year-old Copenhagener Alexander Burchardt while watching a season two episode of HBO’s Euphoria.
In the scene, a character walks into a jukebox and settles down to the classic 1987 INXS hit “Never Tear Us Apart.” When the camera pans to the album cover, many eagle-eyed viewers noticed that the cover looked more like an off-brand version of the official cover art. When Burchardt was watching the episode, he saw himself.
“That was me. In a split second we see the album cover, I saw it and I got so confused” Burchardt told Rolling Stone. “You’d be surprised how easily you could recognize yourself when you least expect it. I remember this photoshoot [and] the clothes I was wearing but I was shocked. We thought it was impossible, so we rewound the scene, paused again, and watched, and my girlfriend was screaming.
It turns out that Burchardt, like many 20-somethings in the early 2000s, decided to pursue modeling. The photos ended up on iStock, a stock image website, where the Euphoria The art department likely found the photos in order to recreate the cover, likely due to licensing issues.
An entertainment lawyer has confirmed to Rolling Stone that advertising laws are likely to blame. The show was able to secure the rights to their song, but perhaps didn’t want to bother securing the artwork for a second of screen time. “The fact that they used the track itself – and that’s assuming they probably had the rights to use the song – coupled with the fact that they significantly stripped the album cover [and] then changing the musicians with stock footage makes me think it was more because of a potential name and likeness or publicity right,” attorney Christiane Kinney said.
So while an iStock model isn’t exactly the same as using frontman Michael Hutchence’s real photo, it does give Burchardt a great story to tell…and maybe an acting credit?